A day in the life of a Graphic Designer
When people ask me what I do for a living, what I really want to do is just show them. For me, graphic design and living on a farm go hand in hand, both are about following ideas wherever they may lead and getting distracted (I mean, inspired) along the way.
Mr Grant brings me a cup of Coffee in bed which I spend the next 15 minutes doing absolutely nothing and just enjoying.
7am: Get up and on
I quickly check my emails and delete any junk before jumping in the shower. Then it’s breakfast and a walk down to the yard to check on the horses with the dogs.
I’m back home by 8 and thinking about my to-do list for the day. I go back into my emails, delete any new junk ones and set about replying to my clients and any enquiries. Usually I have around 15 emails to go through which doesn’t sound like a lot but these are not one word answer responses.
9am: Hobbit breakfast & to-do list
At 9am Mat comes home for second breakfast (Hobbit), we have a coffee together and discuss what the plan is for the farm that day. When he’s gone, I check-in on my social media accounts and then log into my CRM (Customer relationship management) software and see what’s on my to-do list for the day. I can be working on a number of projects at any given time but I am careful not to book more than one essentials package, one elite package, five design clients and three wedding stationery clients per month, on top of the three retainer clients I currently have.
My CRM system is provided by Dubsado and contains all my leads, active jobs and accounts. It also acts as my client portal so that my clients can see everything associated with their project (schedules, proofs, contracts, invoices etc), I have detailed workflows and task boards set up so that each project flows seamlessly between one element to another. Whilst it may sound ‘uncreative’ being this organised it’s essential that I have this comprehensive structure – it enables me to give each of my clients the time and attention they deserve.
10am: Let the work begin…
It’s at this point turn off my emails, phone and any other distractions. I’m at my most creative in the mornings so the job I select from my list is usually a concept creation, at moment I have two different company logos, a newsletter and a website to start. As one of the logos was booked in first this is the job I will tackle first. I always make sure to provide the clients with more than three options so that they don’t feel tied up to my own design preference and I’m always experimenting with different styles based on the brief and business evolution rather than claiming one signature look.
I have a quick bite to eat and depending on the time of year I either grab my foraging basket or on the go sketch pack and head out with the dogs for a walk around the farms fields. If it’s the season as it is now I collect berries, sloes, apples and whatever else I can find from the verges to take home. If foraging isn’t on the cards I take out my sketch book and depending on my mood draw or paint what I see. Before I head back in to the house I check to see if my girls have laid any lovely eggs for me.
1.15pm: Back to it
A quick check of emails which takes around 15 minutes and then it’s back to the to do list. The next two hours are then immersed in more creative concepts.
“Effective problem solving in design requires a balance of strategy and spontaneity, intelligence and creativity.”
3pm: Client calls & amends
I know my creative peaks and troughs, mornings flow effortlessly but the afternoons are my Achilles’ heel when it comes to my creativity. It is for this reason I don’t do any concept work in the afternoons, instead I concentrate on client amendments and scheduled client calls.
5.30pm: That’s a wrap!
With the exception of Thursdays when my client call times finish at 8pm, I finish on the dot at 5.30. It’s important to my creativity that I have down time so finishing on time is a must for me. Another walk with the doggies down to the yard to check, feed and water the horses with time for cuddles and grooming. Unfortunately Mr Moon is unsound and Xandy is retired so no riding at the moment.
6.30pm: Yummy, yummy, yummy I’ve got food in my tummy
I love cooking and making food from scratch, I hate waste so being organised and having a meal plan is key to our tea times. I create my plans on a two week basis, scouring my recipe books for ideas and then add the name of the recipe which book it came from and a list of ingredients to a day. I’m conscious when I am doing this to bulk recipes that have similar perishable ingredients together so nothing gets wasted. Meal plans are also great during Harvest as I can plan food that can be transported to the Mat in the tractor plus I can bulk make.
So tea time is just a case of looking at my plan and gathering everything together and cooking.
7pm: Feeding time at the zoo
Mat feeds the dogs if he’s home, if not it’s down to me and I serve up our dinner. I love this time of the day, not only because I get to eat but because I get to actually sit down and enjoy what I’m eating, chat to my husband making plans for our weekends and future.
8pm: And relax….
Dishwasher is loaded, kitchen is tidied and it’s time to relax! A quick 10 – 15 minute meditation (I literally can not meditate longer than this) and then I open my sketch book and doodle, sometimes while watch TV with Mat but sometimes I just sit whereevr the need takes me. We only really watch up TV via catch up or record, we record anything we fancy and then watch it when we want. Anyone else do this?
10pm: Bedtime and read
I get ready for bed, face tone and cleanse, teeth and then get all tucked up with a book, heaven!
11pm: Lights out and sleep…..
I could never describe a typical day in my life as a graphic designer as it can be so changeable someday’s I am at the computer all day and others I can be printing, foiling, painting or lasering in the studio, it’s so varied and I love it!